For the sake of our own sanity, let’s turn off the televisions and Internet news, unless viewing them is part of your job or you have a vital direct interest. Check back when facts are firmed up. May I suggest, this being early afternoon, checking the smartphone, tablet or TV set about 4 p.m.
If you can’t hold yourself back that far, then just check the news updates once an hour.
We’re gawking. That’s tacky, and it’s low of us. Also, we’re not doing anyone any good, least of all ourselves. We are not helping those in the middle of today’s crisis, either, by standing on the street corner with the crowd, behind the crime scene tape, watching the ambulances come and go.
Today’s remarks are about the horrific mass shooting by an armed loony of a grade school in Connecticut. Link here to see the latest — but hourly, at the most frequent, right? We need sanity, clear-headedness, calm.
There’s another reason: All of the facts aren’t in yet, I bet not even 20 percent of the verifiable information. All we are doing is filling our heads with junk. And junk like this — partial sets of facts, conjectures, assumptions and hate — is hard to dislodge, even after solid data comes in. That is human nature.
Continuing coverage news operations are filling the gaps with conjecture. This is how CNN and the others operate. The media are using experts, quoting them. But what do they know? They can’t know much. All this is exploiting we gawkers. If this was a nationwide emergency, there’d be no commercials. Seeing commercials today? Yup.
When officials who have been briefed or who have been on the scene come on the air, sure listen to them as they’ll have hard facts. But they likely may hide pertinent details as investigations are continuing. That is their obligation. So there we are nearly where we started, an incomplete summary of facts that may be confusing and allow wrong conclusions by their vagueness. Besides being upsetting. Lots of grown-ups across the country are plenty worried today.
I’m heading out for errands, and I expect to be hearing about this from strangers and friends. Tragedies like this bring us together. That’s good, it’s necessary. We are community.
I’ll listen to folks, commiserate but won’t share my own thoughts. Empathy counts. Yet what do I really know? Surely no more than you, outside of knowing to be patient at times like this.